Monday, 12 November, 2018

US says remains returned by North Korea likely American

Kim Jong Un waves before departing Pyongyang to Singapore Kim Jong Un waves before departing Pyongyang to Singapore Thomson Reuters
Lisa Bryan | 02 August, 2018, 07:36

A special ceremony was held at Osan Airbase in South Korea to mark the return.

"There is no reason to doubt that they do relate to Korean War losses", John Byrd, director of analysis for the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), told reporters at Osan air base in South Korea, just before the remains were due to be flown to Hawaii for further analysis and identification. Service members from countries including Australia, Belgium, France and the Philippines also have not been recovered from North Korea.

Decades after the end of the Korean War in 1953, the remains of dozens of presumed USA war dead were on their way Wednesday to Hawaii for analysis and identification.

The defense official said, "It could take months, or even years to identify them".

Intelligence collected by U.S. agencies showed, however, that senior North Korean officials have discussed plans to deceive Washington about the number of nuclear warheads and missiles they possess, as well as the types and number of facilities, and to rebuff worldwide inspectors, according to the Post.

He also confirmed a single military dog tag was provided with the remains and that the family of that soldier has been notified.

The 55 flag-draped boxes of remains from potential prisoners of war were returned to the United States on Friday.

"After so many years, this will be a great moment for so many families".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a tour of Asian capitals this week, in part to urge countries to keep the sanctions pressure on North Korea in order to push the denuclearization process along. "We don't know who's in those boxes", Mattis said.


North Korea has continued to build missiles in the weeks since leader Kim Jong Un agreed to "work toward complete denuclearization" with President Trump, The Washington Post reported.

The article is the latest in a string of propaganda pieces urging North Koreans to hang onto their austere communist ways and reject the "cultural poisoning" of the free world in anticipation of dictator Kim Jong-un announcing a refocus of his regime towards economic development.

The smiles and handshakes of that Singapore summit were soured by subsequent events.

Pence, the son of a decorated Korean War veteran, called the returns a "historic occasion" and an accomplishment for President Donald Trump, "whose leadership and compassion brought this day about".

After an April 2017 meeting at the president's Mar-a-Lago home, Xi supported successive rounds of United Nations sanctions and clamped down on border trade with North Korea.

The website 38 North, dedicated to looking at security policy issues concerning North Korea, did note a positive step last week when satellite imagery indicated that North Korea had begun dismantling some structures at the Sohae satellite launching station, the site from which North Korea has previously launched satellites as well as conducted engine tests for ICBMs. But many experts say those are neither irrevocable nor serious steps that could show the country is honest about denuclearization.

Monday's report, citing intelligence gathered by USA spy agencies and unidentified officials, also said there were signs that North Korea is continuing to construct at least one, and possibly two, liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States.

More than 326,000 Americans fought alongside soldiers from South Korea as part of a United Nations coalition during the war to support the South against the Communist North.

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